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December 4, 2018

What If I Just Want a Slow Life?

What if all I want is a slow, small, simple life? Is that enough?

What if your version of “enough” or society’s version of “enough” is drastically different from my personal version of “enough?” Can we all coexist together without making your enough or my enough wrong?

Today’s world is becoming increasingly faster. The messages are everywhere. Just take a peek at Instagram or Pinterest and you’re sure to be bombarded with motivational platitudes encouraging you to strive for excellence, make a name for yourself, leave an impact on the world, do epic shit. We’re told to push, hustle, improve, build, progress, rise, dream big, level up, work harder, advance.

But what if that is not my idea of a fulfilling life? What if the constant pressure to strive and be more leaves me feeling less than, depleted, drained, and unworthy? What if I have a different vision of what success looks like and it doesn’t include a six-figure business or being named an “Instagram Influencer,” or climbing up the corporate ladder? What if I’m at peace with living an ordinary, simple, yet fulfilling life?

Can that be enough?

As someone who writes about self-improvement, this might seem like a weird thing to say, but the self-improvement movement we’re in can be a dangerous and slippery slope. The well-meaning, but pushy way that we’re encouraged to be more and do more can leave us feeling like something is constantly missing, no matter how high we climb. It sends a message to us that we can never be good enough just as we are and with what we currently have.

It’s a thin line to tread on.

I think it’s important that we all realize that there is no one way to “do life.” My version of happiness and success will most likely look very different than your version of happiness and success. We all have to work to learn what feels best for us as individuals.

Maybe you thrive by working tirelessly to bring your dreams to life. Or maybe you prefer working at a slow, steady pace with lots of room for rest and recharging.

Maybe creating a booming business fuels your soul with the energy of a thousand suns. Or maybe you’d much rather work at a coffee shop by day and write little life musings by night.

Maybe your idea of health is having 17% body fat and running marathons. Or maybe your idea of health is simply feeling good and being happy, even if your body could never grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.

There are always two sides of the coin and we need both. We need the people who dream big and work their little hearts out to create massive change in the world. And we also need the reserved souls who work more quietly behind the scenes to contribute to the world in their own way.

The most important part in all of this is that we accept ourselves as we are, including our nature, wants, needs, and limitations.

I will never be the person who burns myself to the ground to get ahead. I need my solitude, my quiet moments of reflection, and lots of time to recharge.

I will never have the perfect body according to some people’s standards, but I’m learning to be okay with my body that is neither big nor small, but is there for me and carries me through my days.

I’ll never be someone who has a million Instagram followers, but I’m enjoying putting my voice out into the world in a more quiet way.

I just want a simple, calm life. One big in love, joy, and beauty, but small in lots of other ways.

So take those inspirational slogans with a grain of salt. There is no race to win. There is no medal for making it to the top. Do what feels best to you, even if it doesn’t fit society’s standard. Honor your needs and limits, even if people are pushing you to do otherwise.

All that matters is that you’re enough in your own eyes, and if you take away the pressures and boxes created by society, it will be clear that you already are.

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Katie Koschalk  |  Contribution: 925